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8/2 Mayor’s portrait

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7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Rutte: environment will have to wait

18 June 2007 - By adopting a rather risk-free political programme, VVD party leader Mark Rutte wants to enlist the ‘forgotten majority’. Tonight at the Rode Hoed, party members were not convinced and urged him to embrace freedom or show empathy.

The VVD is still suffering from Rutte’s clash with right-wing populist Rita Verdonk, although Rutte insisted that they differ only in style. “OK, so I don’t wear a tie and I seem to come across more left-wing than the average VVD-member, but guys, that’s just appearances”.

Rutte said he wants to enlist the ‘forgotten majority’; people who are neither on welfare nor on excessively high incomes.

He aims to achieve this through making people feel appreciated by lowering their taxes; showing confidence in professionals by reducing bureaucratic regulations; providing safety on the streets and improving education.

His definition of liberalism failed to convince the audience. Later that evening, one member of the audience stated she had asked people around her whether they still remembered the issues Rutte had just mentioned - the answer was ‘no’.

Various members of the public urged Rutte that liberalism should be about freedom, and not individualism, as Rutte seemed to suggest. Others mentioned the party is unjustly seen as cold. They felt the party needs someone like former State Secretary Erika Terpstra, who radiates love and empathy.

Rutte did say that his party wants to develop a stronger profile on environmental issues - ‘too important to leave to the amateurs of GroenLinks’. Concrete issues they are working on include nuclear energy and biofuel (which he opposes).

However, he added that this was not the time to connect these isssues into a broader view on the environment. “We are now in recovery. People would not understand it if we were to embrace an issue that is not traditionally seen as a VVD-issue. We have to earn back the right to raise new issues”.


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